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Sep 4, 2018 | Read time 1 min

What’s in an acronym?

Acronyms are often understood and used more than their unabbreviated form. This occurs nearly everywhere, for example, 'BLT' is just as understood in a restaurant as 'Bacon Lettuce and Tomato.'

In some cases, the acronym is more common than the complete form, PM is used for afternoon and hardly ever do people say “Post Meridian”, and MP4 is used for the file format and I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say 'Moving Picture Experts Group Advanced Video Coding' format (MPEG-4 AVC)...

Why is it tricky to get right?

Although there are cases where the pronunciation of the acronym is the same as the written form (NASA for example), it is often not the case, and so phonetic transcriptions do not work. You may also just expect these to work, but many of them are industry or use case specific so without tailoring to specific markets it is impossible to solve all cases.

Can Speech Recognition fix that too?

The Custom Dictionary feature in Speechmatics ASR products can help solve these kinds of issues like a human would. This involves providing just a little context to help the ASR along. Just adding the required form to the Custom Dictionary can help detect the acronym but that will not work some of the time, and for cases such as 'MP4' or 'ASR' it cannot. But all is not lost Speechmatics can help you here too.

Watch this space for our newest feature addition, coming soon…

Watch the example below!

Ian Firth, Speechmatics